Intel and Microsoft Embrace the HD DVD Format

Addicted to Digital Media It seems like Intel and Microsoft are going to be siding with the HD DVD format for next generation DVDs. Sean Alexander is out with some of the reasons tonight… er tomorrow… on why this decision makes sense.

One of the interesting things about the HD DVD format according to Sean is that a “guaranteed” feature within HD DVD will allow consumers the ability to make copies of their DVDs to their Media Center PC. Interesting, but I’m not too excited just yet.

Personally the only thing I buy DVDs for are for the kids. The kids watch these DVDs sometimes at home but mostly in the car. I like the idea that I can now back up HD DVDs on my Media Center but I see two problems.

1. I’m assuming (hoping) that when copies are made to your Media Center PC that they are of the same high quality format as the original DVD. If this is the case, and the discs, according to Sean, will be 30 Gigs at launch, then say 50 DVDs for the kids at 30 gigs could take up an awful lot of storage. 1.5 terabytes to be exact.

The alternative would be to have the copies stored be inferior non HD versions of the movies which would be smaller but this is also less exciting to me because I’m a nut for HD quality.

Seems like I’d want to have my cake and eat it too in this case.

2. My major problems with buying DVDs today is that I’ll shell out $25 or whatever for a copy of The Little Mermaid for the kids and inevitably it will get scratched up. With four kids under the age of five DVDs, around our house inevitibly take quite a beating. Now I like the idea of being able to back these discs up — after all I did pay for the license and fair use should dictate that I not have to pay a 2nd time for a copy. But my problem will be when my original copy becomes unplayable and I want a new copy for the car.

It’s great that the kids can watch it on the Media Center PC, but where I really want the disc is on the next road trip from San Francisco to Southern California when I want to keep the kids occupied on the road.

I’m not sure that there is a good answer to this one as I seriously doubt you’ll see unrestricted copies of new DVDs, but in my mind this is still a problem to be addressed.

Of course one answer would be the Auto Media Center PC. This theoretical PC would be able to synch with your home Media Center PC and allow copies over into your car. Of course transfering a 30gig file via wi-fi could be a little much, but possibly a pullout portable hard drive could also provide some relief.

Update: Slashdot’s take.